“When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.” Acts 28:3
Paul had been promised by the Lord that he would testify in Rome concerning the gospel (Acts 23:11), but the Lord never promised Paul an easy journey! He would end up travelling to Rome as a prisoner. Paul would survive a violent storm on the Mediterranean Sea, and survive the eventual shipwreck, being cast on the island of Malta. As he gathers sticks to fuel the fire, a viper comes out and fastens on to his hand. Although Scripture doesn’t tell us directly, we can safely assume that this venomous snake injected his poison into Paul’s bloodstream.
We live in a world that is gripped by fear and panic! Unplanned cancellations, lock-downs, and social distancing can cause distress, fear and even panic! Is this new pandemic out of control? Will the death-toll be in the millions? When, if ever, will our lives return to normal? And who is to blame for this deadly virus? It almost seems as if a poison has been injected into our world.
Scripture informs us that indeed a deadly poison has been injected into this world – by an even more deadly serpent than the viper! However, the passage above goes on to tell us that Paul shook the viper into the fire, and remained untouched by the deadly toxin! Paul knew a power greater than the power of the viper – the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – which is the provided antidote to the power of sin! And thus Paul could know peace in the midst of poison!
The Lord has promised us that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, but He never promised that the journey would be an easy one. We have all encountered trials in the past – and even now, we face entirely unplanned circumstances. Yet, even when the world seems totally out of control – our God remains firmly in control of His universe – and His purposes are not being thwarted! May the God who conquered the power of the Serpent through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and provided Paul peace in the midst of poison, grant us His peace in the midst of panic. And may He use us as a beacon of light in a world of darkness.